Erie County Clerk warns of letter scam

Erie County

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns is warning residents of a letter scam.

Kearns says a letter saying it’s from an employee of the “Erie County Department of Equalization” is demanding further payment before the end of the month of transfer tax owed to the county upon conveyance of real property.

According to the County Clerk, this tax is paid to Erie County and the state at the time of a real estate closing.

Officials tell News 4 it’s a scam for the following reasons:

  • The Erie County Department of Equalization does not exist
  • The letter’s signatory is not a County employee
  • The payment link provided in the letter has been disabled. 

Kearns says the county would not send a letter in this instance. 

He also says disputes regarding the underpayment of transfer tax would be handled by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. 

“Sadly, scammers see an opportunity during times of distress,” said Kearns. “If someone or some entity you’ve never dealt with before is trying to get you to part with your hard-earned money, stop and question it.” 

Residents that receive this letter may call their attorney to confirm that there’s no issue with their conveyance.

Kearns says they all can contact the legal department of the County Clerk’s Office for more info at 716-858-6348. 

Troy Licastro is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of his work here.

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